Story courtesy of The Northern Echo
RESIDENTS are celebrating the reopening of a village hall, which was built as a memorial to those who died in the First World War.
The small community of Seamer near Stokesley, has been fundraising for the renovation for a number of months and after sourcing several grants, managed to raise £35,000 to fund the overhaul of the centre’s interior.
The hall was completed in 1927 and was in need of large scale renovation.
The memorial hall, situated on The Green, was closed for renovation work in October and is due to reopen this weekend in a ceremony in which 100-year-old resident Walter Bainbridge will cut the ribbon.
Mr Bainbridge still works as a farmer in Seamer and was a Methodist preacher for more than 60 years.
He celebrated his 100th birthday in October last year with 170 members of his family and friends in a marquee outside the village hall.
During the renovation, new insulation has been added to the hall, a new boiler installed, windows replaced and new toilets added with disabled access.
Ann Thomas, chairman of the village hall, said they had decided to insulate the building after a survey was carried out in the community which revealed many people had found the hall too cold.
Although a large variety of groups use the hall, from a craft group to a Zumba class and gardening group, it is hoped more people will now use the facility.
“The survey found people won’t tolerate cold places. If you’re in there for two hours for an art group or book club you could get very cold. So we’re certainly hoping to get more groups using the hall,” she said.
Vice-chairman Claudia Miller said they hoped the hall would become the heart of the village.
“We don’t have any shops or other facilities here other than the pub so we’re hoping more groups will use this,” she said.
“Especially younger groups as there’s not a lot in the village for young people. This should make it much more the heart of the village.”
The opening ceremony will begin at 1.30pm on Saturday (January 18) for villagers and others involved, followed by a supper in the hall during the evening with old-fashioned party games. Celebrations will continue on Sunday.
The village hall committee is planning to raise funds to renovate the exterior of the hall as part of the final phase of the refurbishment.